An Enhanced Commitment to Animal Welfare
Pet registration and management of the pet industry
The COA has been working to persuade citizens to accept a “lifetime commitment” to their pets and to stop pet abandonment. A pet registration system has been in place since September 1, 1999, requiring that dog owners register and implant identity chips in their pets. In 2012 there were 100,349 new pet registrations, so that as of the end of 2012 a total of 1.07 million dogs and cats had been registered. Efforts to enforce the chip and registration rule continued in 2012, and local governments conducted 30,745 inspections of pets, warning owners to rectify problems in 8567 cases and handing out administrative punishments in 15 cases.
To improve management of the pet industry right at the source, the COA is intensifying efforts to halt illegal breeding of dogs for sale. In 2012 we continued to crack down strongly on illegal breeding operations and the illicit trade in pets. Local governments investigated a total of 5,730 cases, with punishments and confiscations in 45 cases. They also conducted surveys and evaluations of all legally registered pet-industry firms, helping consumers to identify well-run and ethical businesses and protecting the rights and interests of consumers and animals.
Testing of pet food sold on the market
In order to protect animal health and the rights and interests of pet owners, the COA routinely tests samples of pet foods sold on the market. In 2012 we did 100 such tests. We tested especially for aflatoxins and trichothecenes, which are particularly harmful to pets. All of the products tested conformed to international standards. In the future, we will based on annual plans, continue to monitor the safety of pet foods sold on the market and to publicly announce test results to ensure that pet food supply businesses provide only safe products. Pet food businesses are obligated to follow the provisions in the Consumer Protection Law that require them to ensure that the products they sell meet standards for safety and quality. These businesses are also required to label their products in accordance with the Commodity Labeling Act, to protect the rights and interests of consumers.
Management of animal shelters and impoundment centers
The COA has been working for some time now to get local governments to improve impoundment facilities. So far 18 local governments have built improved facilities, while another four have subcontracted the work to community shelters or veterinarians. State-run facilities took in 110,472 dogs and cats in 2012, of which citizens adopted 31,708, an adoption rate of 28.7%, an increase of 8.4 percentage points over 2011. Humane methods were used to euthanize 55,316, for a rate of 50.1%, which is 7.8 percentage points below 2011. The COA will continue to promote the idea of adoption as a substitute for purchase of a pet, and to encourage people to take lifetime responsibility for their pets. We realize that euthanizing pets in impoundment facilities is regrettable and controversial, so we are working constantly to ensure that fewer animals end up in impoundment centers.
Also, based on the COA’s “Regulations Governing Management and Operations at Animal Shelters” and on standardized animal adoption contracts, the COA has been working to systematize operations at state-founded animal impoundment centers. There are now set standard operating procedures for such things as transfer, chip scanning, care and feeding, humane treatment, and adoption. We also encourage citizens to visit animal impoundment centers and shelters, and we are working to increase the number of volunteers. We want operations at these centers to be open and transparent, and to serve the dual purposes of serving citizens and helping animals find new homes.
Humane treatment of economic and experimental animals
We provided guidance to various institutions to make sure that they conform to relevant COA regulations requiring them (i) to create an effective internal monitoring mechanism and (ii) to implement the 3Rs: replacement, reduction, and refinement. We also offered two courses in humane management of animals, issued 444 certifications, and published a yearbook on humane treatment of experimental animals which we distributed to all 220 institutions where animals are used in applied science. It is our goal to continually improve the welfare of animals used for experimental purposes in Taiwan.
The COA has adopted two sets of regulations to govern (a) transportation methods for swine, cattle, and goats as well as humane slaughtering methods for livestock and poultry, and (b) training for those in relevant industries. To ensure that these regulations are enforced, we oversee local governments in conducting 350 inspections per year of animal transport or slaughtering operations. As of the end of 2012, we had held 15 lectures for persons in the animal transport business and 23 for those in the slaughtering business, with a total of 1,200 attendees. As of the end of 2012, 2,932 persons had received certifications for having attended classes on animal transportation.